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Receiving an offer to relocate with your employer can be received with mixed emotion. On the one hand, you might be thrilled about a new opportunity, moving up in your company or receiving a significant increase in salary and benefits. On the other hand, moving is expensive and stressful. Employers are aware of the difficulties of moving and are often more than willing to provide you with advice, services and the financial help you need to make your relocation a smooth one.
Uprooting from your home can be a life-altering decision, especially if you have a spouse and kids or other family and friends you're leaving behind. You'll want the new job to be a good fit and be able to thrive in the new location. Therefore, it's reasonable to ask your employer for pre-decision services before you take the plunge. Services might include proactive counseling, at least one visit to the new locale, and financial services to help you and your employer determine the costs of the move.
Know exactly what you're getting into. You don't want to move across the country -- or the world -- only to find yourself out on the street six months later. Likewise, your employer doesn't want to invest in your move only to have you defect to a competitor. It's in your mutual best interest to have a clear contract that states the conditions of your employment guaranteed for a specified period of time. Knowing you have secure, uninterrupted employment and income for at least a year or two will help you plan and adjust to your move.
Many companies are willing to absorb some if not all moving costs for relocating employees. These costs include packing, shipping, transportation, fuel, lodging, food, temporary storage and any other expenses associated with moving you and your family from one location and settling in another. Ask specifically how the company handles these expenses. It may provide you a flat rate relocation allowance or it may reimburse you for the expenses you incur.
Mortgage Payments and Loss on Sale
One of the most stressful aspects of moving is trying to sell a home, particularly if you owe more on your mortgage than what it's worth. Many employers are willing to help absorb some of those costs as an investment in up-and-coming employees. Ask your employer if it's able to cover mortgage payments if you move before your home sells. Also ask if it's willing to cover any costs on your old home should you incur losses on the home's value.
If you're moving across international borders, you'll have significant additional expenses and paperwork. It's reasonable to ask your employer for assistance with visas, international taxes and international shipping and transport costs. One helpful resource your employer could set you up with is a relocation agency, a third-party service that helps you move in and acclimate quickly in a new culture. It's also not uncommon to receive a repatriation bonus from an employer to help you get started.
Cost of Living Adjustments
A dollar in a small town is not the same as a dollar in big city. What a dollar is worth in another country could be even more dramatically different. Ensure that your salary and benefits in your new location adequately cover your living expenses. Basic factors to consider include housing, transportation, health care and everyday goods and services. Other more intangible costs might include access to education for your children or the cost of buying a vehicle if you previously relied on public transportation. Ask for assistance from a financial adviser to map out such costs, especially if you're moving across international borders.
Temporary Housing and Accommodations
Depending on the conditions of your move, your employer may be willing to pay for your new housing and accommodations. It might cover rent while you're looking for a new home or trying to sell your old one. It could put you in a hotel or corporate housing if the relocation is temporary. If you don't have access to amenities like a kitchen or a car, your employer may also help absorb some of those costs. Any unusual living expenses you incur as a result of the relocation can qualify for either reimbursement or a relocation allowance.
Gina Poirier has a professional background in nonprofit administration and management, primarily with youth development organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Washington and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage.